Edward P. Evans’ 2009 Florida Derby (G1) hero Quality Road
promises to be a heavy favorite in the $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) to be run
Sat., Feb. 6 at Gulfstream Park
on an outstanding afternoon of racing that also will include renewals of the
$300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) and $125,000 Suwannee River Stakes
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Quality Road is the most
accomplished on an imposing nominations list for the 52nd running the of the 1
1/8 miles Donn Handicap, and the son of Elusive Quality was very impressive
tuning up for this engagement winning the one mile Hal’s Hope Stakes (G3) on
opening day by 2 ¾ lengths under regular rider John Velazquez.
Other accomplished South Florida-trained nominees for the
race include Quantum Racing Team’s Mambo Meister, PARJ Stable’s Delightful
Kiss, Hardacre Farm’s Kiss the Kid, Alex and JoAnn Lieblong and partners’ Duke
of Mischief, William S. Farish and partners’ Grasshopper, Circle E Racing and
partners’ Timber Reserve and Edmund Gann’s You and I Forever.
Two intriguing names on the list that would have to ship in
for the race are Vinery Stable and Fox Hill Farm’s 4-year-old Friesan Fire,
based at Fair Grounds with trainer Steve Asmussen, along with Natalie J.
Baffert and George Jacobs’ 4-year-old Misremembered in California.
Friesan Fire, winner of the Louisiana Derby (2) and beaten
favorite in the Kentucky Derby (G1) (18th of 19), went wire-to-wire to capture
the Louisiana Handicap last Saturday at Fair Grounds. The son of A.P. Indy was
making his second start since going to the sidelines after a dull performance
behind Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness (G1) at Pimlico in May.
Misremembered finished second last out in the Malibu Stakes
(G1) at Santa Anita on Dec. 26. Bred by Bob Baffert, the chestnut son of Candy
Ride won the Indiana Derby (G2) at Hoosier
in early October and finished a game second, beaten a neck by Blame, in the
Clark Handicap (G2) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 27 in his two previous starts.
Leading the nominations for the nine-furlong Gulfstream
Park Turf Handicap are Castleton Lyons’ 4-year-old Gio Ponti, 2009 Eclipse
champion turf horse and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) runner-up; IEAH Stable and
WinStar Farm’s 5-year-old Court Vision, third in this race last year; and Starlight
Partners’ 4-year-old Take The Points, winner of the Secretariat Stakes (G1) at
Arlington Park last year.
The 63rd edition of the Suwannee River attracted
nominations for 30 fillies and mares, including three each trained by
Christophe Clement, Todd Pletcher and Michael Matz, and two for Rick Dutrow,
including IEAH Stables and partners’ 4-year-old filly Stardom Bound, runner-up
in the El Encino Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita on Jan. 17.
Completing the stakes line-up for next weekend on Sunday
(Feb. 7) will be the $125,000 Hallandale Beach Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16
miles on turf. The nominations include Ammerland Stud’s Nordic Truce, J D
Farm’s Bim Bam and Gary and Mary West’s Call Shot, one-two-three in the Dania
Beach Stakes over the course on Jan. 16; and Lael Stable’s Lentenor, Barbaro’s
full-brother that broke his maiden here on Jan. 20 for trainer Michael Matz.